A former police captain who filed a discrimination lawsuit after he suffered a double demotion for his response to the 2015 shooting of Tamara Wilson-Seidle, received a $1.25 million settlement from the City of Asbury Park.
"Our insurance carrier, NJIIF (NJ Intergovernmental Insurance Fund), made the business decision, to settle this case," City Manager Donna M. Vieiro told the Press,
In July 2017, then-Asbury Park Sgt. Marshawn Love alleged in a lawsuit that the Asbury Park Police Department "refused to advance African-American officers" and that the former acting chief derailed his career after he reported allegations of harassment. Love also alleged that the department spied on him when he took medical leave, according to the case filed in Monmouth County Superior Court.
Love received a double demotion and was suspended 120 days without pay for his role in responding to the June 16, 2015, fatal shooting of Wilson-Seidle in Asbury Park by her ex-husband, former Neptune Sgt. Philip Seidle. Love was a long-time neighbor of the couple.
Love retired on May 1, 2022.
The settlement was initially agreed upon after the second settlement conference on Jan. 30and was signed on June 6 and paid in late July.
“I feel very relieved to put this very difficult chapter of my life behind me," Love said in a statement given to the Press through his attorney Greg Noble. "I took great pride in my career at the APPD, and I believe this case was important, not just to me but to the community at large.”
In the lawsuit, Love claimed that he was a whistleblower who was retaliated against after he reported a fellow officer's sexual harassment claims against former acting Chief Anthony Salerno. Love said his once-promising career was derailed by Salerno; Love alleged that Salerno had other police officers spy on him. He also claimed that David Kelso had surveillance vans monitor his home. Kelso, now the chief of police, was the deputy chief at the time.
The suit alleged that Love was "scapegoated for the Seidle shooting" and demoted to sergeant because the police department "refused to advance African-American officers" and to block him from a shot at becoming the department's chief.
The suit named the city of Asbury Park, the Asbury Park Police Department, and Salerno as defendants. Love was seeking reinstatement to the rank of captain, back pay and punitive damages.
The suit said a policewoman reported to Love a sexual harassment allegation involving Salerno in 2014 and that Salerno later suspected Love informed city officials that Salerno took a personal trip to Florida using his city vehicle.
The suit also said Love was illegally placed under surveillance by the police department. Court documents say he was placed on medical leave as a result of mental health issues arising from the disciplinary process for the Seidle case.
Noble said the settlement was for damages, under state law, against discrimination.
"The damages we were seeking in the case were emotional distress and some economic harm," Noble said. "(Love) retired toward the tail end of the case but we were alleging because he was demoted two ranks and didn't get the opportunity to retire as captain that there was a certain pension loss as a result of that."Charles Daye
Asbury Park Press
July 31, 2023